Could Trinidad and Tobago actually implement a CCS pilot project in the coming years? This is something that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is keen to explore, and this year, the Global CCS Institute played a key role in that discussion.
Whilst acknowledging that the island state certainly faces many of the CCS-related hurdles that other jurisdictions, particularly developing countries, are facing there are many indicators suggesting that there is a possibility that Trinidad and Tobago could adopt CCS in the future.
Trinidad and Tobago has been a forerunner in hydrocarbon exploration and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. In fact, in 1973 Trinidad tested the first CO2-EOR project in either Central or South America.
With large reserves, it is not surprising that Trinidad and Tobago is the leading producer of oil and gas in the Caribbean as well as being the largest producer of methanol and the largest trader of ammonia. What this means then is that the country emits the most CO2 per capita in the region, almost 29 tonnes per person at 2008 levels. From a geological and industry expertise point of view, there is opportunity for Trinidad and Tobago to adopt CCS policies and perhaps eventually, projects. There are many industrial sources of CO2 on the island state such as ammonia plants and natural gas facilities. Furthermore, economic benefit could be obtained from utilising the CO2 to increase the oil recovery of mature wells. Additionally CO2 could be stored in already depleted oil and gas fields.
In July and September this year, the Institute’s Capacity Development Team travelled to Trinidad and Tobago on the invitation of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources. The purpose of our travel was to undertake workshops and stakeholder consultations that advised and informed the Carbon Capture and Storage Legal and Regulatory Review for Trinidad and Tobago. This review is a key component of a wider Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) grant activity.
Our final workshop in September was invaluable in utilising stakeholder expertise to provide input into the draft review. We asked Mr Clyde Abder, Senior Lecturer at the University of the West Indies to chair our final workshop and to use his extensive oil and gas industry expertise to draw out some of the gaps, overlaps, policy issues and areas for improvement. The result was heartening. We found that the existing regulatory framework is well placed to accommodate a CCS project. This would be particularly true if the proposed project was to capture CO2 from an industrial facility (such as an ammonia plant) and CO2 transported either offshore or onshore to an existing oil or gas reservoir to be used for an EOR-CCS project. Key issues to be resolved in the coming years would include liability, injection of CO2 into a non-hydrocarbon reservoir, developing monitoring, measurement and verification criteria as well as land issues such as competition for acreage.
The Institute is looking to 2013 and the prospect of working toward resolving some of these issues in collaboration with stakeholders.